Indian History


A History of Indian Paper Money Later in the 19th century, the city of Bombay witnessed a commercial boom. It led to the establishment of the Bank of Bombay, which received the charter in 1840. Like the Bank of Bengal, the bank of Bombay also had a government share in its capital. The charter empowered the bank to issue its own notes. These notes bear the vignette of the Town Hall of Bombay, the centre of commercial activity which took place in an open space just in front of this majestic building. The notes also show statuettes of the Hon. Mount Stuart Elphinstone and Sir. John Malcom, the first Governors of Bombay Presidency. The notes of Bank of Bombay range in value from Rs. 10 to Rs. 10,000. Most of the used notes have their signature portion cut after encashment.

The last presidency bank to come into existence was the Bank of Madras. It was established in 1842. Unlike the other two banks, notes of the Bank of Madras were not approved by the government of Madras Presidency for payment of government dues. This let to a severe curtailment in their circulation. They are the rarest of all presidency bank notes. They show a statue of Sir Thomas Munroe, the first governor of Madras, and range in denomination form Rs. 10 to Rs, 3,000.

Apart from the three banks mentioned above, which enjoyed government support, there were several private banks which issued their own notes in this period. However, their circulation was extremely limited and most of such notes in existence today are specimens or unissued notes. These banks include The Bank of Hindustan, The Union Bank, The Commercial Bank and the Calcutta Bank in Bengal; The bank of Western India, The Oriental Bank and the Commercial Bank of India in Bombay; The Madras Government bank and the Asiatic Bank in Madras.

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